Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg address is more relevant today than ever as Americans fight against each other, making ideology more important than doing what is right.
I can picture our 16th president, lanky, gaunt, incredibly sad, but still determined as he stepped to a podium to deliver this two minute speech on November 19, 1863.Our country was suffering great loss--beyond imagination and the president carried the burden of death, conflict, and the hope of reconciliation squarely upon his shoulders. Lincoln's words echo true when he said,
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.When I visited Gettysburg many years ago, there is a sense that it is hallowed ground and without a doubt the men who died on those beautiful green hills of Pennsylvania will always be remembered. I've walked through cemeteries with small American flags fluttering in metal stands beside stones of granite, stood watching parades, worn the paper red poppy, listened to speeches honoring the fallen and guns salute the dead, and then the playing of "Taps", its haunting notes lingering in the air. We must remember the cost of our freedom and continue the "unfinished work" that Lincoln reminded the crowds about under a bleak November sky in 1863.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Part of that work is to support our military and their families. They are on the front lines of sacrifice every day as wars rage on and peace is nowhere to be found. There are many ways to accomplish that task, but it will take some sacrifice on our part. Are you willing? The other part is to take Jesus' words in Matthew 22 to heart.
"'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Ultimately our relationship with God and then with each other directs our future course as individuals and as a nation. They are the rudder, the compass, the eternal principle by which all governments must rise or fall.
Today's blog is brought to you by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.